Flany Ba is sharing African culture with the Regina community through dance.
2 min read

As the sole kizomba instructor in Regina, Flany Ba knew that she would need to seek out opportunities in other locales to develop her skills in the African dance style. A Micro-Grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board enabled her to take intensive African dance teacher and performer training in Montreal last September.

Kizomba has become popular around the world because of its captivating movements and sounds. The beauty of the dance lies in the many possible combinations the dancers create and its flowing nature.

Ba says kizomba appeals to her because “it is a dance that was created in times of hardship when the Angolan people were displaced by civil war. It was a dance that was used to reunite the community and heal their souls from the trauma they experienced. It was a dance to remind them of home that enabled them to build new communities and new families in their new location. Kizomba is a dance that welcomes anybody and enables the dancer to connect and communicate things without having to talk about them. It’s a dance that makes you feel like you belong somewhere.”

Similar to ballroom dances, kizomba requires a partner. Ba was having difficulty conveying the spirit of the dance on her own -- the training enabled her to work with other dancers to learn new skills.

Ba began dancing kizomba six years ago and has been teaching it for four. Before she took the training, she taught an urban, or modified, version of kizomba. Through the training “I was able to go back to the root of kizomba – what the essence of the dance was, not the styling added to it after. I was able to learn what we call ginga – the flavour of the movement,” she says. “That’s what I was lacking and what is lacking in kizomba communities around the world. People learn the interpretation of kizomba without learning the foundation.”

Ba says the training will help her continue to share an important part of African culture with the Regina community and introduce more people to social dancing. She teaches at Regina Salsaros and encourages others to come and try it out. “You may be uncomfortable, but if you keep your mind and heart open, this is a dance you will fall in love with.”

 

Photos of Flany Ba:
Top: Victoria Ordu
Middle and bottom: Denis Boisvert